TNC Predator Tries to Mitigate Conflict, Valve Careful

KuKu in an interview at the International.

The last few weeks have been eventful in the Dota 2 community. TNC Predator, the home team of professional Dota 2 player Carlo ‘KuKu’ Palad may be forced out of the Chongqing Major over a racist remark he made directed at Chinese players.

Chongqing Bans and a Risk of Cancelling the Event

Carlo ‘KuKu’ Palad is a professional Dota 2 player who is currently fielded under TNC Predator, a Philippines esports outfit. KuKu stirred a controversy after he used a derogative racial term to describe a fellow Chinese player, only a few days after another member of the community, Skemberlu, had done so in an official game during the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor event, leading up to the Kuala Lumpur Major.

The City of Chongqing, hosting the event, has said that they may not be able to let Kuku participate in the upcoming LAN tournament, without giving specifics, but rather issuing mild warnings. According to TNC Predator, they are not officially banned from attending, though, but the repercussions may be significant. The fact that Kuku’s career is in jeopardy aside, tournament organizers announced on Sunday, December 2, that one of three scenarios were possible.

Should KuKu attend, he risks being expelled from the city or not allowed in altogether. Another scenario suggests that if KuKu appears at the venue, the tournament will be called off. But even more worryingly, the hosts said that “his safety cannot be guaranteed,” TNC Predator reported in a Tweet from their official account.

While the controversy is reaching its climax, TNC Predator are trying to mitigate the situation assisted by a number of community members, including Henrik ‘AdmiralBulldog‘ Ahnberg; popular Evil Geniuses streamer Grant ‘GranDGranT‘ Harris. David “GoDz” Poker was among the individuals to speak out against the oppressive measures undertaken by Chongqing.

But one notable absence here is Valve’s, with the company trying to steer clear of the conflict and let the community sort it out. Naturally, jumping to the conclusion that Valve are not involved is somewhat premature as they may still be trying to negotiate with their Chinese partners before they issue messages that achieve little in the way of results.

Is Valve Stepping Up?

Nevertheless, players have been calling for the company to step up. Meanwhile, on December 3, TNC Predator published a new message on their Twitter, saying that they have reached out to SLTV and IMBATV through established connections in the Chinese community in a bid to seek a genuine solution.

SLTV, IMBATV’s Western partners for the Major, have been kind enough to open lines of communication with us. We have been trying to reach IMBATV through our friends from the Chinese community since it is our goal to have a sincere dialogue with them about the issue and to understand each other’s point of view. – TNC Predator’s official statement

There has been no reply as of the time of publishing the article. Valve responded briefly to a request from TNC Predator for a reaction, which partly reaffirms the original suggestion that the company is working on the issue.

We would like to remind the community that we want to resolve this issue as sincerely and peacefully as possible. TNC and Kuku fully understand the gravity of the mistakes committed which is why we have exhausted every avenue to talk with all parties involved, especially the aggrieved. – Valve’s reply to a TNC Predator request for assistance as reported by the team.

A solution to the problem is still quite unlikely as of this moment, as all parties have kept silent. Valve have allowed TNC Predator to field a stand-in without incurring any penalty points, though. With this in mind, we provide you with a brief timeline of the events:

  • In November, the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor LAN finals took place. During a game, Andrei Gabriel Ong AKA “Skemberlu”, who played for compLexity Gaming, wrote a racial slur in “All Chat” during a game against Chinese professional esports outfit RNG, short for Royal Never Give Up.
  • KuKu made a similar remark only days after in a public game
  • Events quickly escalated with the country’s Dota 2 community writing hundreds of negative reviews about Dota 2 and tanking the game’s rating while also threatening the people responsible for the remarks.
  • Skemberlu was benched, following an official statement by compLexity slapping him with a hefty fine.
  • KuKu did apologize on Facebook and Weibo, but evidence surfaced that the Weibo address was fabricated by TNC Predator’s manager. Paulo Sy did owe up to his error in a Facebook statement
  • On November 10, Valve released a statement warning against all and any manifestations of racism and disrespect towards players in the game.
  • Dota 2 casters and players pledged to boycott and Chinese Dota 2 event
  • On December 2, TNC Predator released the worrying statements from Chongqing Major hosts that KuKu’s safety was not guaranteed should he choose to attend and the event could be altogether cancelled.

The Chinese community have a good reason to be angry. The racial remarks were completely uncalled for and both Skemberlu and KuKu must have known better. However, imperiling the competitive future of the entire 2019 competitive season is not the right way to address the issue neither is strong-arming Valve to meet ultimatums. KuKu and Skemberlu must be punished for their words, but not in a way that’s disruptive to the game’s future.


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